The City of Fishers transformed its annual Veterans Day ceremony into a streamed online presentation instead of a public gathering due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across Hamilton County. The video is still available at fishers.in.us/1215/Fishers-Honors.
“It’s a privilege to stand before you and to be with you today as a fellow veteran who served in the United States Navy,” retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. El Ahlwardt, said in the video. “It’s the intent of this ceremony, even streamed, to convey the thanks of the City of Fishers to the United States Armed Forces veterans and their families who call Fishers home.”
Following an invocation by chaplain Rusty Kennedy, the video showed Fishers’ Liberty Plaza, a memorial in downtown Fishers honoring those who served. The Fishers Police Honor Guard then presented the colors.
Ahlwardt noted the differences between Veterans Day and holidays such as Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. Veterans Day honors those who served in the Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day honors those who are serving, and Memorial Day honors those who died while serving.
Indiana National Guard Reserve Col. Charles Bragg was the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
“I descend from pioneer families who came to Indiana in the early 1800s. Several of their ancestors were Revolutionary War soldiers and patriots,” Bragg said. “My family has been encouragers and have always looked for something to serve regardless of the situation.”
Bragg described his family’s history of service. His father was a civil defense warden with the Picatinny Arsenal. After his father died at age 46, Bragg and his mother moved to near his dad’s family in Jay County. Bragg’s uncle and older brother served in the Air Force. Bragg joined the Indiana National Guard at Baer Field in Fort Wayne in December 1955. He began teaching U.S. and world history and government in August 1961. In December of that year, he was set to complete his six-year obligation with the Guard, but after President Kennedy called for combat-ready tactical Air National Guard units to active duty in Europe, Bragg was sent to Chambley Air Base near Metz, France.
Bragg then talked about exploring Europe and its history.